Joseph Perry and his sons Orrie, Reg and Stan


The key figure in the Department was Joseph Perry, showman, scientist and Salvationist. He was born in England in 1862 and went to New Zealand as a boy; he joined the Salvation Army in 1883 and two years later was sent by the Army to Australia. He worked for the Army in various mining districts, and in Ballarat began to develop the use of lantern slides and photographs for propaganda effect. His slide shows became popular, and in 1892 he was brought to Melbourne to help establish the Limelight Department and to extend his special talents for nation-wide use. Pike & Cooper: 4.

Soldiers of the Cross (Joseph Perry & Herbert Booth, 1900) not as a whole a feature film, but a show with lantern slides, motion pictures, hymns and a spoken commentary; included here because of obvious historical importance: the world's first drama film; premiered 13 September 1900; the film sequences are lost

Heroes of the Cross (Joseph Perry, 1909; much content from Soldiers of the Cross (1900)

Scottish Covenanters, The (Joseph Perry, 1909)

Perry's sons also joined the film trade and had long and successful careers: Orizaba (usually known as Orrie), born in 1887, and Reginald, born in 1890, had helped their father in the making of Soldiers Of The Cross (among other roles, they had played the fore and aft legs of a lion in the Colosseum scenes). Orrie became a photographer for Johnson and Gibson, and in 1913 turned to cinema management, eventually managing Union Theatres' most prestigious houses, in turn the Capitol Theatre and the State Theatre in Sydney. Reg became the South Australian manager for Universal Pictures and worked in that position from 1920 to 1962. Another brother, Stan, worked primarily in exhibition, and was manager for Hoyts Theatres in Western Australia for many years. Pike & Cooper: 5.

Story of the Kelly Gang, The (Charles Tait, 1906) J & N Tait, Johnson & Gibson, wr. Charles Tait, dp Millard Johnson, Orrie Perry, Reg Perry, c. 4000 ft; Frank Mills, Elizabeth Tait, John Tait, Norman Campbell, Will Coyne; world's first feature film, in the sense that it ran for more than an hour; seventeen minutes of the film have been restored and released by the National Film and Sound Archive

The Squatter's Daughter (Bert Bailey, 1910) aka The Land of the Wattle, prod. William Anderson, from the play by Bert Bailey & Edmund Duggan, dp Orrie Perry; Olive Wilton, Bert Bailey, Edmund Duggan; 6000 ft

It Is Never Too Late (W. J. Lincoln, 1911) prod. J. and N. Tait, wr. W. J. Lincoln from the novel by Charles Reade, It Is Never Too Late To Mend (1856), dp Orrie Perry; Stanley Walpole

Mystery Of A Hansom Cab, The (W. J. Lincoln, 1911) Amalgamated Pictures, from the novel by Fergus Hume, dp Orrie Perry

Luck Of Roaring Camp, The (W. J. Lincoln, 1911) Amalgamated Pictures, wr. W. J. Lincoln from story by Bret Harte, dp Orrie Perry; The George Marlow Dramatic Company, incl. Ethel Buckley, Robert Inman, John Cosgrove

Called Back (W. J. Lincoln, 1911) Amalgamated Pictures, wr. W. J. Lincoln from the novel by Hugh Conway set at the time of Garibaldi, dp Orrie Perry; Arthur Styan; 4000 ft

Lost Chord, The (W. J. Lincoln, 1911) Amalgamated Pictures, wr. W. J. Lincoln, dp Orrie Perry

Bells, The (W. J. Lincoln, 1911) Amalgamated Pictures, wr. W. J. Lincoln from the adaptation by Leopold Lewis of the play Le Juif Polonais by Erckmann-Chatrian, dp Orrie Perry

Double Event, The (W. J. Lincoln, 1911) Amalgamated Pictures, wr. W. J. Lincoln from the novel by Nat Gould, dp Orrie Perry; horse-racing milieu

Breaking The News (W. J. Lincoln, 1912) Amalgamated Pictures, wr. W. J. Lincoln, inspired by John Longstaff painting, dp Orrie Perry; Hattie Ireland, Arthur Styan; drama; 39 min.

Rip Van Winkle (W. J. Lincoln, 1912) Amalgamated Pictures, wr. W. J. Lincoln, based on story by Washington Irving, dp Orrie Perry; Arthur Styan


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